It seems I have changed my identity in the last few months. I am now "The New Pastor's Wife". This new title/job comes with different expectations from everybody. Most people assure me that they don't expect anything of the pastor's wife. They say I am just meant to care for my children and support my husband is his ministry, but then the next comment they make will demonstrate that they do in fact have certain assumptions about what a pastor's wife should be like and how she should behave. This is frustrating, because it means I am never able to work out exactly what it is that people are expecting of me. It would be so much easier if people said, "I always think the pastor's wife should do…." or "A Pastor's wife should be involved in…", etc. This way I would be able to directly address their assumptions and let them know why I will/will not be living/dressing/behaving in the way they expect me to. However, I must admit I have not felt heavily judged by anybody for what I have or have not done. I just feel the weight of unknown expectation.
Following on from any introduction is either of the next questions. "Are you all settled in now?" or "Where are the children going to school?"
I confess to becoming more and more puzzled by the first of these questions. What exactly does "all settled in" look like? Am I all unpacked? No, not yet. I don't expect to achieve that for a long time yet. Do I feel like this is home yet? No, I don't. I still feel like a stranger in the shops, the school and especially in church on Sundays. Have I made friends? Well… I am still getting to know people, and I see some people who may be closer friends in the future, but I'm also aware that as the pastor's wife I need to be cautious in my friendships, so no, I don't have any close friends yet. Do I live here and function within this community on a daily basis? Yes, I do that. Mostly when people ask if I'm all settled in I just say "We're getting there."
As to the second question, regarding schools, I can answer that the boys are happily settled into the local Christian school and seem to be enjoying it and doing very well already. People then look at Abby and say, "So, where are you going to school?" and I have to explain the whole homeschooling thing to them. Again, I have not felt judged by most people, and some have been very helpful and supportive, but it has been awkward as Abby's official school books did not arrive until this week, and we have been working from some other curriculum I have bought and helping to refresh her on some subjects she struggled a little more with. We have several teachers at our church who ask Abby questions about maths or English Literature books, and we would both feel a little flustered, but now we have the official workbooks, and Abby has been doing a good job this week of getting stuck into her work.
In case I sound like I'm complaining, I'd like to state that we love our new country town, and life here so far has been great. It's an exceptionally beautiful area and I think Abby is getting sick of hearing me say how much I love being out of Sydney and back in the country. There is one particular road we sometimes come home on and as we come over the hill there is a beautiful view spread out before us and it almost takes my breath away to know how blessed we are to be able to live here.
I will just add… Church politics!!!! Wow!!! Who knew it could be so intense…